Rinke claims national title at trapshooting championship

REED CITY — With a 2016 national championship in trapshooting under his belt, Hugo Rinke can be found at the Reed City Sportsman Club gun range shooting some more.

Rinke, of Hersey, won the Sub Vet Champion of Champions division earlier this month at the Grand American World Trapshooting Championships, in Sparta, Ill. A sub vet is a shooter older than 55 but younger than 65.

Trapshooting is the sport of shooting clay pigeons released from a spring trap at varying distances, and the distance is used to determine the shooters’ proficiency.

“I was a hunter,” Rinke reminisced. “It got to be though I was walking more and shooting less. I liked the shooting aspect of hunting. My father-in-law got me interested in trapshooting. Now, I’m hunting less and shooting more.”

No stranger to big shooting tournaments and titles, Rinke spends a lot of time during the summer traveling to different events across Michigan and the Midwest.

“I’ve won other state championships and stuff like that,” he said. “I’ve been on the state trapshooting team for the last seven years.”

To claim his champion of champions title in Michigan, Rinke said he and his 12-guage shotgun had to shoot 198 out of 200 pigeons in the tournament. After a week of preliminary shooting at the national tournament, Rinke shot 100 out of 100, before hitting an additional 150 targets to claim the title.

“That first week down there I was shooting with guys I know from all over Michigan,” he said. “There were between 2,100 and 2,200 shooters from all over the country and the Canadian provinces. There were even a few shooters from Brazil and other countries.

“The second week, I was shooting with men and women from all over the country.”

Rinke said mentally preparing for small or big trapshooting events takes a lot of relaxing.

“I just go off by myself and relax, and try to think of the next target,” he said. “Relaxing is the biggest thing.”

With some clay pigeons flying as fast as 40 mph, Rinke said participating takes a lot of endurance and strength.

“It’s definitely a sport,” he said with a grin. “When you’re shooting that many targets in 95-degree heat and a dew point of more than 70, and bringing a 10-pound shotgun up and down, it’s definitely a workout.”

When he isn’t shooting on the range, Rinke works at Yoplait, which helps pays for the trips to different events.

“I really appreciate the patience and understanding of my wife,” he said. “I’m gone a lot during the summer — without having a good wife who understands, I wouldn’t be in the position I am with this.”

Rinke wants to share the love of the sport with others, with the hopes of getting more people interested in trapshooting.

“There are kids as young as 11 years old and others as old as 90 who participate in events locally,” he said. “The local club hosts frequent tournaments and we shoot every Sunday from about 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. We’re always looking for more people.”

Anyone interested in trapshooting or skeet shooting should visit the Reed City Sportsman Club Facebook page, Rinke said.

“I am always available to give free instruction and to help them in any way I can,” he said. “They can contact me through the Facebook page.”

Find out more about the Reed City Sportsman Club at facebook.com/reedcitysportsmanclub/.